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The Meaning in "the Mix": Using Ethnography to Inform the Design of Intelligent Tools in the Context of Music Production

McGarry, Glenn; Chamberlain, Alan; Crabtree, Andy; Greenhalgh, Christopher

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Abstract

In this paper we report on two ethnographic studies of professional music producers at work in their respective studio settings, to underpin the design of intelligent tools and platforms in this domain. The studies are part of a body of work that explores this complex and technically challenging domain and explicates the ways in which the actors involved address the tension between artistic and engineering practices. This report focusses on the flow of work in the creation of a song in a digital audio workstation (DAW), which often eschews the technical requirement to document the process to maintain a creative "vibe", and the troubles that occur in subsequent stages of the production process in which complex and often messy compositions of audio data are handed over. We conclude with implications for metadata used in the process, namely the labelling and organisation of audio, to drive tools that allow more control over the creative process by automating process tracking and documenting song data provenance.

Conference Name Audio Mostly 2021
Conference Location Trento University, Italy
Start Date Sep 1, 2021
End Date Sep 3, 2021
Acceptance Date Jul 6, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 15, 2021
Publication Date Sep 1, 2021
Deposit Date Jul 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 1, 2021
Publisher ACM
Pages 40-47
Book Title AM '21: Audio Mostly 2021
ISBN 9781450385695
DOI https://doi.org/10.1145/3478384.3478406
Keywords Music production, Workflows, Metadata, Design Ethnography
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/5884549
Publisher URL https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3478384.3478406
Related Public URLs https://audiomostly.com/

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